By Don Scott
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins enjoyed a quick 2-0 lead, scoring twice in less than two minutes, before Pheonix Copley shut the door for the remainder of regulation plus another 2:10 of overtime, to backstop Hershey to a 3-2 home win Sunday.
Penguin Sam Miletic scored at 6:32 from the low slot and teammate Anthony Angello buried a feed from beneath the goal line from Joseph Blandisi at 8:16.
In the scoreless middle period the Bears outshot the Penguins 18-6 plus hitting two posts and having a 25-15 shot advantage after two periods.
The Bears continued to be the dominant team in the third period, and finally got on the board at 2:35, scoring just 14 seconds into a power play. Matt Moulson nailed his seventh goal of the season sending the rebound of a Bobby Nardella shot past Casey DeSmith.
At 8:45, Christian Djoos tied the game when his shot from the point deflected off a Penguins stick for his third goal of the season.
“This was a good character win because it isn’t easy coming back from 2-0 against a team like that, but we did what was needed to get the job done,” Copley said. “The stop I made on the breakaway right after we scored is just doing what my job is, by being there, and fortunately I was. The Pens goalie played really well so we had to work for what we got.”
In the overtime, Hershey capitalized on another second-chance opportunity.
Joe Snively created a turnover along the boards and fed Mike Sgarbossa in the middle of the ice. His shot banged the goal post but Snively controlled the loose puck and fired the rebound into the open net for his seventh of the season and the third game-winning goal of his pro career.
Copley, in two previous starts this season versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, earned a shutout in the 1-0 shootout loss on Nov. 16 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and just missed blanking the Penguins in a 5-1 win at Giant Center on Oct. 13.
“Vitek (6-4-1) and I are just doing our jobs and the guys are playing well in front of us so we just want to keep it rolling and moving forward,” Copley (6-5-4) said about the team’s recent success.
“All these division games at home are really big for us so we’re trying to do everything we can to get the job done,” continued Copley. “We both want to play, but it does make healthy competition for us that brings out the best in both of us.”
Final shots on goal were 35-25 Bears. Hershey’s special teams finished 1-for-3 on the power play, and a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill to increase its current kill streak to 21 straight.
The Bears improved their record to 12-9-2-3, after winning three straight one-goal games in three consecutive nights against division rivals Lehigh Valley Friday and Saturday, followed by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Sunday.
Hershey is home on Saturday, Dec. 14 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, then host Lehigh Valley on Sunday. The pre-game feature before Sunday’s game will be the induction of Ross Fitzpatrick, Wally Kilrea, Don Biggs, Frank Mario, John Paddock and Steve Summers into the Hershey Bears Hall of Fame.